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BROWNING'S PARACELSUS
AND OTHER ESSAYS.

BY
J.

D.
of

BUCK,
etc.

Author of "A Study

Man," "Mystic Masonry,"

"Sleep

is

hut birth into the latid

of Memory: birth but a sleep in the oblivion of the Past."

CINCINNATI:

THE ROBERT CLARKE COMPANY.


1897.

Copyright,

1S97,

by

J,

D. Buck.

TO

L.

C.

B.

THE MOST LOYAL AND HELPFUL OF

COMRADES
[n all

Endeavors. of the Author's Aspirations and

CONTENTS.

Introduction,

v
^3

Paracelsus,

Genius

6i
-

The Music of the Spheres,


Idols and Ideals,
-

7^

83
(iii)

INTRODUCTION.

We
is

are nearing the close of the Ninespirit

teenth Century, and the


in the air.

of unrest

Turn whichever way you

will,

the old foundations are being broken

up,

and the ancient monuments overThere was a period, within the


of those
still

turned.

memory
now
things

living,

when

causes

active

seemed

inoperative,

and

now
to

investigated

and exploded and


it

were regarded as
sacrilege
interfere

sacred,

was
to

question,

much more
**

with them.
as

Things settled
said, '*if

by long use,"

Bacon once
fit

not

absolutely good, at least


Society,

well together."

and even human thought, are


(V)

VI

INTRODUCTION.
Chinese puzzle, loosen one piece,

like a

disturb one section,


to
fall

and the whole begins

in pieces.

Innovation once started

runs like a mighty wave, gathering force


as
it

advances,

till it

sweeps

all

before

it.

Many

earnest souls see only the destruc-

tion left behind, but the prophetic spirit

discerns the germs of a

new

life

spring-

ing

from the ruins of the


is
still

old.

The
the

tidal-wave

advancing,
is

yet

promise of the newer Hfe

heralded by

many
riod,

signs.
in

We

are in a transition pe-

the

twilight that precedes the

dawn.

We

are told

by those who have

care-

fully studied the cyclic flight

of time and

the slow-revolving centuries, that the last

quarter of every century for

many
by

mil-

lenniums
events,

has been marked

similar

and

that certain great truths are

brought prominently forward as guiding

INTRODUCTION.
lights for the

Vll

coming

age.

Progress

is

the law of

life.

The human mind


;

is

reaching out in every direction

is

look;

ing inward and questioning the soul

is

looking
stars
;

upward

and

questioning

the

is

looking backward and questionIt

ing the ages.

was even so

at the

close of the Fifteenth

Century in the

time of Paracelsus and Martin Luther.

The same problems


though
In the
in

face us

now

as then,

a somewhat

different

form.
all

last analysis

these problems

merge
of

in one, viz., the higher evolution

man
It is

or the regeneration of the

human

race.

the undying spirit

in

perpetual
sense

conflict

with

the things
fire

of

and
of

time
life,

the

sacred

on the

altars

illumining the steps

by which we

ascend to the Adytum of Illumination.


It

has ever been the mission of genius

VIU
to sense this

INTRODUCTION.
conflict,

and discern the


viz.
,

true light

the

informing ideal,
spirit
all

the
as

supremacy of

over

intellect,

over matter and

lower functions in

man.
tier

Wordsworth and Tennyson, Whit-

and Emerson, struck the same keyand


gave

note
**A11

no

uncertain

sound.

goes to show," says Emerson, in


Over-Soul,
is

The

''That
organ,
the

the

soul

in

man

not

an
all

but

animates
is

and exercises

organs;

not a

function, like the


calculation,

power of memory, of
but
uses

of

comparison,
is

these as hands and feet;


ulty,

not a fac-

but a light
will,

is

not the intellect or

the

but the master of the intellect


is

and the
ing, in

will;

the back-ground of our belie

which they

an immensity not
Emerson,
quotis

possessed and that cannot be possessed."

And,
ing

again,

says

from

Swedenborg,

"It

no

INTRODUCTION.

IX

proof of a man's understanding to be


able
to

confirm whatever he

pleases
is is

but to be able to discern that what


true
false
is
;

true,

and

that

what

is

false

this is the
It

mark and
is

character of
dis-

intelligence."

this

power of

cernment,
is

this spiritual perception, that

the

guiding light of

genius

and

its

oft-inspiring

theme.
inspired prophets and seers

Among the
of this

''Light of the

Logos" stands
this

Robert Browning.
ening
spirit

Discerning

awak-

in

man, and the needs of


his genius
fires
:

the coming age,

lit

a lamp
altars

from the sacred

on ancient

and bore

it

aloft

Too
:

high, as yet, for


for the

the plodding

crowd

Too pure

market-place, and the tables of the


ey-changers,
the
it

mon-

shines like a nev/ star in

dawn

of the

coming age.

The

as-

tronomers of the intellectual firmament

INTRODUCTION.
it

have been puzzled in assigning


constellation,
it

to

any

and have often regarded


wanderer among the
yet defined
its

as a comet, a

stars.

They have hardly


calculated
its

orbit,

revolutions,

or tabulated

the

perturbations

produced

thereby.
its

Browning himself gave them


sign,

true
its

but

left

others

to
is

determine
not mind,
it."

magnitude.

''Spirit

nor

from mind, but

above

The new

planet shines not in the star dust of the

milky-way, but in the pure ether from

which

it

has emerged

the

''spirit of the

air," as Paracelsus called

it.

The new age


Century

builds

toward Robert

Browning, but the close of the Twentieth


will

not quench his

light.

It is

sixty years since

Browning published
production

his

Paracelsus.

Such a

from

a young

man

of twenty-three, shows

how

clear the light of genius shone in him.

INTRODUCTION.

XI

and how the

spirit

that

is

" above

intel-

lect " illumined

his

mind.

brief out-

line of the times

and the career of Para-

celsus
still

may

serve as a back-ground to the


at

briefer glance

Browning's crea-

tion,

which, with a glance at the philosois all

phy involved,

that

is

here attempted.

BROWNING'S PARACELSUS.
Paracelsus was born in 1493, and was

twenty-four years old


Protestant Reformer

when

the

great

affixed his

ninetyat

five propositions to the castle

church

Wittenberg, while
his senior.

Luther>as ten years


the Sixteenth

The dawn of
the

Century called into existence a


of
thought,
all

new
The

era

result

of

which

has
dis-

colored

subsequent events.

covery of a new
the

world in the west

and

dawn

of religious liberty in the east

events crowded into a single quarter of a

century mark

the

beginning

of
his

the

career of Paracelsus,

who

in

own

day was called the

''

Medical Luther."

strong character and a great innovator

(13)

14
like his

browning's PARACELSUS.
illustrious

contemporary, Para-

celsus created strong partisans

who

vied

with each other in immoderate praise

and

Wind hatred

and

condemnation
to

of the physician

who dared
in

ridicule

Galen and Hypocrates and


the
art.

to dispute

ancient authorities

the

heahng

His great learning was undisputed,


it

but

served only to increase the hatred

of his hereditary enemies, the Doctors

and the Apothecaries, who condemned

him

for writing his treatises

in the

Ger-

man
a

language instead of Latin, and when


his skill

by means of

he was able to cure

number of

cases publicly assigned

him

as tests,

and declared incurable by Doc-

tors of his time, such as Elephantiasis,


his

enemies,

as

might have been

ex-

pected, but clamored the louder for his


destruction.

There are few epochs

in
is

the history of

human

progress

when

it

BROWNING'S PARACELSUS.
either safe

or desirable to advance far

beyond the borders of conservative mediocrity.

This fact has often led to concealment


of

wisdom and retarded


It

the progress of
in the
his

man.

was even so

case

of

Paracelsus.
eries

Great as were

discovto

and the reformations he sought


his

inaugurate,

most

intimate

disciple

condemned him
the sources

bitterly for concealing


his

and extent of

knowledge,
his injustice

though the disciple repented


after the

death of his master.

Obliged

on more than one occasion

to seek safety

in flight for his opposition to bigotry

and

vested rights that were public abuses, the


great Physician had learned the necessity

and the

art of

concealment.
Physician,
is

Paracelsus,

the

the

Re-

former, the Philosopher,

idealized
to

by

Robert Browning and made

portray

browning's PARACELSUS.
its

the struggles of an aspiring soul in

evolutionary journey.

It

becomes

us,

therefore, to inquire whether

Browning

has read into the


ideal
sult,

life

of Paracelsus an
re-

and a meaning, an aim and a


largely his own, or whether

he has

only idealized a picture the outlines and


features of

which were actual existences


verification.

and capable of

Recorded incidents
subject
will

in the

life

of our
to

be entirely inadequate

solve the problem.

No

estimate given

by

his contemporaries,

whether friend or
our search.

foe, will materially aid us in

The knowledge which he

concealed

might, indeed, be of great service, and


the clues to that knowledge are not
cult to follow
;

diffi-

they are to be found in

the philosophy v/hich he taught.

The concealment complained


altogether

of was

due

to

the

ignorance

and

browning's PARACELSUS.
superstition

with

which

he

was

sur-

rounded and from which even


ciples

his dis-

were by no means
to

free.
is

The
always

power
limited,

impart knowledge
is

and

confined to the capacity

of the student to apprehend, and when-

ever the teacher transcends these natural


barriers,

he is misapprehended and usually

condemned.

As City Physician

at Basel,

and Pro-

fessor of Physic, Medicine,

and Surgery

by appointment of the City Council,


Paracelsus
his

made every
but,

effort

to impart

knowledge,

after

three

years

spent in such
city secretly

efforts,

he had

to leave the

and hurriedly

in

order to

avoid the unpleasant consequences that


threatened
him.

He wandered
with the

from

place to place consorting with people in

every grade of
ject of learning

life,

avowed

ob-

whatever might be gained

l8

browning's PARACELSUS.

from the most humble and obscure, no


less

than from the rich and powerful, and


art of healing

he practiced the

among
he

the poor gratuitously.

The

rich nobleif

men promised him

great rewards

should be able to cure them, and after

recovery paid him with ingratitude and

even persecution.

Paracelsus

left

no
gen-

worldly goods except his


erally transcribed

v/ritings,

by

his

disciples,

and

these

are
at

imperishable.

''Those who
*'

remain
live

home," says Paracelsus,

may

more comfortably than those who


I

wander about; but


live

neither desire to

comfortably, nor do I wish to berich.

come
riches,

Happiness
is

is

better

than

and happy

he who wanders

about, possessing nothing that requires


his care.

He
its

v/ho

v>'ants

to study the
his

book of Nature
feet

m.ust

wander with

over

leaves.

Books are studied

BROWNINGS PARACELSUS.
by looking
tain
:

ig

at the letters
is

which they con-

Nature
contents

studied by examining
in

the

of her treasure-vaults

every country.

Every part of the world

represents a page in the

book of Nature, book

and
that

all

the pages together form the

contains
is

her

great

revelations."

This

hardly the language of a vaga-

bond
earth.
Italy,

wandering
Paracelsus

aimlessly
visited

over

the

Germany,

France,

The Netherlands, Den-

mark, Sv/eden, and Russia.


to India,
tars

He

went

was taken prisoner by the Tarto the

and brought

Khan, whose son

he afterward accompanied to Constantinople.


in the

There are three important

factors

experience of Paracelsus to be
First,

taken into account.

his

instruc-

tions under his earHest teacher, Trithe-

mius;
third,

second,
the

his

visit

to

India;
in

and
his

philosophy revealed

20
writings

BROWNING
;

PARACELSUS.
light thus derived,

and by the

we need have no
his

difficulty in

determining

the sources and nature of his knowledge,

motive being clearly revealed by his


life.

utterances and his

Johann Trithemius was abbot of


Jacob
as
at

St.

Wurzburg and was celebrated

one of the greatest of Alchemists and


in Occultism.

Adepts

Young

Paracelsus

was under the abbot's instruction between


his sixteenth

and twentieth
between

years,

and went

to India

his twentieth

and twenty-eighth

years.

Much as

Para-

celsus revered the

book of Nature, and

much

as

he may have learned by wanits

dering with his feet over

leaves,

he

was by no means a
pher.

self-taught philoso-

Others both before and since his


far

day have traveled

more extensively

than he, without discovering "Nature's

BROWNINGS PARACELSUS.
treasure-vaults" or learning
terpret her revelations.

21

how

to

in-

From

Trithemius, Paracelsus derived

the key that unlocked the secret vaults

of wisdom, and in Indian lore he found


the ancient philosophy of which he held
the key.

The

careful student will find

not the least difficulty in discovering the

same philosophy

in the writings of Tri;

themius and the Eastern Sages

in fact,

the writings of the former are but com-

mentaries on the

latter.

Cosmogenesis
evolution of

and Anthropogenesis

the
of.

worlds and the evolution of man


the
subjects

are
and

treated

The Macro-

cosm
the

the

great world or Cosmos,

little

world, Microcosm or m.an, fur-

nish the theme,

and the philosophy

is

synthesis of the whole. This philosophical

scheme of evolution

differs

essentially

from that of modern times, which con-

22

browning's PARACELSUS.

fines itself largely to physical evolution

alone in

its

attempt to reduce

all

prob-

lems to terms of mass and motion.

The

older philosophy regards evolution as pro-

ceeding simultaneously on three planes

the physical, the mental, and the spiritual;

the co-ordination of which deterfinal result.

mines the

This

is

the only

sense in which the term synthesis can be


legimately applied to

human

evolution.

Such a

basis not only includes all evoluof,

tionary processes possible to conceive

but also includes every kind of knowl-

edge and every sphere of activity possible for

man.

Time

will

not permit of

demonstration or of illustrations in support of this view.


ers to the writings
for proof.
I

mmst

refer

my read-

under consideration

Paracelsus shows himself to have been


perfectly familiar

with this

grand and

BROWNING

PARACELSUS.
It

23

far-reaching philosophy.

not only ap-

pears fully in his writings, but the ideal

of renunciation and his indifference to


fame, riches, and even comfort, shows
conclusively that he lived in accordance

with what he believed and taught.

He

was therefore misunderstood and misrepresented, even

by

his zealous followers,

who could

not bring themselves to the


all

point of casting

things into the alem-

bic in order that the pure gold of truth

might alone survive as


possession.

their

one only

The

ideal

was too high; the

renunciation too great.


It is this characteristic in the
life

of

Paracelsus, I think, that Brov/ning seizes


as the ideal

and the theme of


it

his great

poem; and, making

less austere

than

cold philosophy, and more

human by

dramatic representation, and the "sweet

reasonableness"

of loving friends and

24
the

browning's PARACELSUS.
companions of
to the
his

early

life,

has

added

fame of Paracelsus, and

assured the immortality of his own, even


if

he had written nothing

else.

This view might be questioned from


the laments the

and disappointment put

into

mouth of Paracelsus by Browning.

But what great soul imbued with a high


ideal ever felt that all of the highest

and

best
lies

aimed at had been achieved ? Herein


the

evidence of strength,
It is left to

not

of

weakness.

weak and shallow

natures to be content and complacent with


the

humble attainments of one


really

short

life.

The

wise see,

as

plane after

plane unfolds, plane after plane beyond

and the narrov/ horizon of the known


but makes broader the expanse and more
prophetic the vision of the unknown.
It is this

prophetic vision, based on real


faith that is

knowledge, and guided by a

browning's PARACELSUS.

25

sublime, that constitutes the day-star of


the soul,

and the guiding


I

**

pillar

of fire"

by

night.

am

not aware of any evito

dence showing Browning

have been,

at so early a date in his career, familiar

with the philosophy taught by Trithemius,

by Paracelsus, and the Eastern Sages, as


such.
I

think

it

more

likely that the

poet's intuition,
**

born of real genius

his

apperception," as Leibnitz would have


it

termed

sensed the truth from a plane

higher than reason and clearer than philosophy, and, passing by the forms of
thought, gave the essence and the ideal
that

he saw.
is

This view
poet's

not only sustained by the

own

utterances, but really furnishes

the

key

to his

whole work.

''Mind,"

he

says, "is not matter,

nor from matter,


is

but above."

Paracelsus

made
it

to say

"Truth

is

within ourselves;

takes

no

26
rise

browning's PARACELSUS.
from outward things, whate'er you
believe.
all,

may
in us

There

is

an inmost center
in fullness;

where truth abides


wall

and around,
flesh

upon

wall,

the gross
clear per.
.

hems

it

in, this perfect,


is

ception

which

truth."

'*To

know, rather

consists in opening out a

way whence

the

imprisoned

splendor

may
light

escape, than in effecting entry for a

supposed

to

be without."

The guiding
thus
*'

light

and the

zest

that

holds the soul to the quest for truth, in

opening out a way

for the
is

im-

prisoned splendor to escape,"

Faith.

Not blind

belief v/here

the

**

Spiritual

functions are smothered in surmise," but


rather what
sionate
into

Wordsworth

calls

'

'

a pas-

intuition," or as

Browning puts

the

mouth of Bishop Bloughram,


faith

*'With me,

means perpetual unlike the

behef kept quiet

snake 'neath

browning's PARACELSUS.
Michael's
foot,

27
just

who
it

stands calm

because he

feels

writhe."

The work

of real genius, whether in


consists

literature or in art,

no

less

in

the perfection of details, and in the coordinate

proportion by which they are

concealed, than in the final result through

which the creative

spirit shines.

In the

very process of building the temple the

wood on
flame,
in

the
all

sacred alter bursts into

and

meaner things disappear


light.

the

presence of the dazzling

So

a living soul leaps from the canvas in


to

answer

our questioning gaze; or a


inspiring

warm and

human

heart throbs

from the printed page responsive to our

own, and aids us

in

" opening out a way

for the splendor "in us 'Ho escape." Apply whatever test we may to this immortal poem of Browning's and we

shall

not

be

disappointed.

We may

28

browning's PARACELSUS.
to
it

come

again and again with ever-

increasing admiration

and

profit.

The

poem
tical

has sometimes been called mys-

and obscure.

We

shall

do well to

be very sure that the obscurity complained of


dullness
is

not an excuse for our

own
to

of
it

apprehension;
is

and

as

mysticism,
derstood.

name but seldom


the

un-

True mysticism

is

to

quest for
life
is

wisdom what the

principle of

to

the body, viz., the revealer, that which


transports

the
it

clod

into

cloud-land

in

order that

may be hung

with rain-

bows and illumined with


mysticism
first

light.

True

senses the spirit behind


intelits

phenomena, and, ascending from


lect to intuition, guides

the soul to

heritage

with Divinity.
it

By

Hfting

the
is

body up
thus
the

brings the spirit down, and


revealer

and

interpreter

of

browning's PARACELSUS.
Nature

29

the
all

most practical and benefi-

cent of

our forms of thought.


seeks to
in,
lift

When-

ever
that

man

the veil of matter


to rise

hems him

and

above the

plane of the animal senses, he treads on


the border-land of mysticism
step toward clearer vision
is
;

and every

a revelation

from the hitherto unknown mystic realm.

Browning was a mystic

in the truest

sense; and yet there can not be found


in all literature a

more joyous and


life,

vital

sympathy with sensuous


affections of the

and the

human

heart than he
as free

has portrayed.

He

was

from a

sickly sentimentality
as

on the one hand

from intellectual dullness and mys-

tification

on the other.

He

stands,

think, as the Apostle of

Health in body,
his creations are

mind and

spirit,

and

therefore living verities.


It

would be audacious

to attempt in

30

browning's PARACELSUS.

one short hour to analyze a work of such


magnitude, depth and subtlety as Paracelsus;
to

condense

to

briefer

space
to

what genius has already condensed


an hundred pages,
or
to

extract
is

the

theme where the composition

so varied

and the harmony

is

so complete.
sincerity

And
we may
age

yet in

all

modesty and

glance at this creation of genius


inspiration,

and gather

and bestow hom-

for the passing hour.

We

are introduced to Paracelsus as a


full

young man of twenty,

of a noble

purpose, and in the midst of affectionate

and

inspiring

friends.

Here

is

his first confession,

showing how clear


his heart
'
:

his brain,

how warm
m.e
;

'

Festus

knows he holds
the joys
I

one scarce aware of all


Festus learns that

quit

when

every
fects

common pleasure of the world afme as himself; that I have just as

browning's PARACELSUS.
varied appetite
for
;

joy

derived
life,

from

common
aims that

things

a stake in

in short,

like his; a stake


life

which rash pursuits of

affords not,

would

as soon that I

destroy he may convince himself


shall act well advised."
''

was not born informed and


from
the
first,

fear-

less

but shrank

from

aught which marked

me

out apart from

men."

And
friend,

then he shows
after

how

Festus, his

Trithemius,
to

his

teacher,

" taught him (me)

know mankind and


ourselves to

know
God,

himself "

(''myself"), ''the sove-

reign proof that


is

we devote

seen in living just as though no Festus says:

God
left

there were."

"You
to

with

me

our childhood's

home

join the favored few

whom,

here, Trithe-

mius condescends to teach a portion of


his lore,"

"and

not one youth of those

32

browning's PARACELSUS.

SO favored, came, resolved like you to

grasp

all,

and
toil

retain

all,

and deserve
like his."

by patient
It

a wide renown

should be borne in mind that John

Reuchlin, a great Kabalist, and said to

have been the greatest


in his

linguist

and scholar

day

in

Europe, was the intimate


Luther's

friend
first

and preceptor of Luther.

course of lectures was delivered on

the

Metaphysics of Aristotle.

It

may

be thus seen that the

men who

really in-

augurated the renaissance of the Sixteenth Century were taught and inspired

by the
lin,

occulists,

Trithemius and Reuchfaith ere

though the reign of

long

eclipsed the rejuvenated philosophy.

But
ing

to continue our quotations.

Brown-

makes Festus say of


it

the aim of Parait

celsus,
**

*'was so vast in scope" that

desired to gain one prize in place of


secret of the world, of

many the

man,

browning's PARACELSUS.
and man's true purpose, path, and

33
fate."

The character of this aim consists


in this, that in itself alone shall

'*

mostly

its

reward

be; not an alien end blending therewith;

no hope, nor
elsewhere

fear,

nor joy, nor woe, to

move

you, but this pure devo;

tion to sustain
aspire."

you or betray

thus you

Paracelsus

replies:

''I

profess

no
lot,

other share in the selection of

my

than

this

my

ready answer to the

will of

God who summons me to be his God appoints no less the way to

organ.
praise,

than the desire to praise, the setting forth

such praise the natural end and service


of a man,
best
. .

and such

praise

is

attained

when

man
ne'er

attains

the

greater welfare of his kind."

"Be
*'

sure that

God

dooms
.

to
.

waste the strength he deigns impart. "

Be

sure they sleep not

whom God

34
needs."

browning's PARACELSUS.
.

**This

is

the faith in

which

I trust."

*'And

am

young,

my
.

Festus, happy and

free; I

can devote
.
.

myself;
. .

I
.

have a

life

to give."

*"T
the

is

time

new hopes should


light

animate

world,

new
long,

should
a race
so

dawn from new


weighed down
long."
sion

revealings

to

so

forgotten

Festus asks regarding this mis-

toward which Paracelsus aspires


it

''Why not pursue


some one of
Paracelsus
est

in

a fast retreat,

learning's

many
from

places?"
his
earli-

replies that

youth he has been possessed by a


fire,

true

an inspiration

to

this

great

work.

He

would " know, not for know-

ing's sake, but to

become
There

a star to

men

forever."

The

inward voice
hard
with

*'true fire" spoke


**

the
is

is

way: 'T

for flesh
frailty

to tread therein,
if

imbued
first

hopeless,

indulgence

browning's PARACELSUS.
have ripened inborn germs of
strength
:

35
sin

to

Wilt thou

adventure for
all

my
?"

sake and man's apart from


Paracelsus
says:
.

reward

"I
.

answered
.

not,
for-

knowing

him.^^

"Thence
quailing
truths

ward
with

...
fate

he

proceeds "loaded
at

" so
of

that,

the

mighty range
yearned

secret

which

for birth, I haste to

contemplate
its

undazzled some one truth

bearings

and

effects

alone

at

once what was a

speck expands into a star."


This reminds one of the answer given

by

Sir Isaac

Newton, when asked how


able
to

he had been
discoveries.

make such
'*I

great

He
o'er

repHed:

keep the
mind, re-

subject constantly before

my
till

volving
the

it

and
truth

o'er,

by and by
Genius
but
the

full-orbed

appears."

may have

various

methods,

30

BRO\yNING'S PARACELSUS.
is

fountain of inspiration
for

ever the same,

Truth

is

One.
for the aspiration of Paracelis

So much
sus,

which

so

fully

elaborated and

worked out
Aspiration

in the first part of the

poem.

alternates

with

attainment

through the

five parts, representing diflife


is

ferent stages in the


into

of Paracelsus,
divided.

which the poem

The

thought in the

poem

itself is

already so

condensed, and the form of expression


so terse, that in following the

theme one

may

scarcely discern

it

in

one part more


at-

than another.

In his periods where


is

tainment

is

the theme, the motive

the

same, but success not a thing to be envied or to boast


says,
'*I
of.

*'At worst," he

have performed

my

share of

the task.

The

rest
:

is

God's concern;
that I

mine merely

this

to

know

have
.

obstinately held

by

my own

work."

browning's PARACELSUS.

37

"What's

failure

or success

to

me?

have subdued
whereto
I

my
way

hfe to one purpose


it;

ordained
that

there alone I spy,

no doubt,
.

may be
life

satisfied."

'*I
.

have made
.

consist of

one idea."

''My aims remained


as ever."

supreme and pure

In the sec-

ond

part of the

poem

occurs a long epi-

sode between Paracelsus and his early


friend, Aprile, the

poet.

Paracelsus as-

pired to

know
!

Aprile, to love infinitely,

and be loved

So

far,

each

is

shown

to

have erred, and how love and wisdom


should unite
in

man.

In the death
''Die not,

scene, Paracelsus

exclaims:

Aprile;

we

must never part.

Are we

not halves of one dissevered world


this strange

whom
know,

chance unites once more?


till

Part ?

Never,

thou, the lover,

and

I,

the knower, love

until

both are
dis-

saved."

This wisdom without love,

38

browning's PARACELSUS.

interested as was his motive, Paracelsus


all

along laments as his "sin."


After the death of Aprile, Paracelsus

returns to his friend, Festus,


professor

is

appointed

and

city physician at Basel,

and
his

meets

at first

with great success,


rally

till

enemies have time to

and compel
In conver*'I

him

to seek safety in flight.

sation with Festus, Paracelsus says:

have vowed long ago

my worshipers
sagacity
all
.

shall
fur. .

owe

to their

own deep
to

ther information,

good or bad."

''Why
fret

strive

make men
't is

hear, feel, past their

themselves with what


to

power

comprehend?"

As

Festus
for

probes Paracelsus to find a reason


his

despondency, he
it,

replies:
for

''I

have

said

dearest

Festus;

the

man-

ner, 'tis ungracious, probably.

You may

have

it

told

in

broken sobs one day,

and scalding

tears ere long, but I thought

browning's PARACELSUS.

39

best to keep that off as long as possible."


*
'

No

it

must

oft fall out that

one whose
it

labor perfects any work shall rise from

with eye so worn that he of

all

men

least

can measure the extent of what he has


accomplished.
tasked,
is

He
he

alone who, nothing

nothing weary too,


little

may

clearly

scan the

effects."

In speaking
it

of the will of God,


differently

Paracelsus puts
earlier days.

now from

"The

constant talk that

men

of your stamp,"

he says
will, as

to Festus, ''keep

up of God's

they style

it,

one would swear

man had

but merely to uplift his eye,


will

and see the

in

question

charac-

tered on the heaven's vault.

'Tis hardly

vnse to moot such topics.

Doubts are
I

many, and

faith

is

weak.

know

as

much
wills

of any will of

God

as

knows some

tortured brute what man, his stern lord,

from

the

perplexing blows that

40

browning's PARACELSUS.
but
there,

plague him every way;

of

course, where least he suffers, longest he

remains
I

my case
. .

and

for

such reasons

plod on."
fail

''God's intimations

rather

in clearness than in energy;

'twere well did they but indicate the


course to take like that to be forsaken."
. . .

''We have

to live alone to set

forth well

God's praises."
pages of the poem, in a
discourse

In the

last six

long and uninterrupted

the
states

dying words of the philosopher to his


friend
his

Paracelsus reviews
his
faith

his

life,

ideals,

methods, and involves,


All

rather than explains, his philosophy.

through the poem,

and aspiration

alternate with uncertainty

and despondthe
ideals

ency;

yet through

all,

are

held with a grasp that never for a mo-

ment weakens, and pursued


though with varying speed.

unerringly,

browning's PARACELSUS.

4I

Browning has taken the

life

and the

philosophy of Paracelsus, so
vealed in his
life

far as re-

and

writings, as a back-

ground, containing sufficient novelty and

enough of the mystical and unknown

upon which

to idealize the evolution of

the aspiring soul of man.


in his earliest

Wisely trained

youth

in spiritual things,

and keeping himself unspotted from the


world, conceiving a noble mission to be
fulfilled

by him

at

any

cost,

and with a
all his

faith

sublime enough to compass

doubts and survive even in the face of

seeming
is

failure,

the hero of the


the

poem

made

to

epitomize

journey of

humanity

after natural selection has given

place to v/hat
*'

Prof.

Fiske has termed


I

Divine Selection," and

doubt

if

any
of

thing commensurate with the range

thought, the analysis of experience, the

measure of motive and design, and the

42

browning's PARACELSUS.

true conception of the highest ideal in

the perfectibility of man, can be found

elsewhere
this

in

modern

literature.

That
is

was Browning's conscious design


into the

shown by words put


the dying Paracelsus.

mouth of
wave
up

Tracing through
all

the

evolutionary
life,

lower

he says:

"The

worm

has enterprise, deep quiet droops

with evening, triumph takes the sunset


hour, voluptuous
transport ripens with

the corn beneath a

warm moon
this

like

happy

face

and
;

to

fill

us

with

regard for
his

man

with apprehension of

passing

worth, desire to

work

his

proper nature out and

ascertain his rank

and
tend
life,

final
still

place."

" For these things


is

upward, progress
is

the law of

man

not

Man

as yet."

He

speaks

of hopes and cares that " grow too great


for

narrow creeds of right and wrong

BROWNINGS PARACELSUS.
which fade before the unmeasured
for

43
thirst
for-

good while peace

rises in

them

evermore."

The

genius and the intuition of the


as-

poet appeal to the emotions and the


pirations of

men,

for

who among
This

us does
either

not

feel

far

more than he can


understand
?
is

express

or

what
the
offer

Ruskin long ago marked out


mission of true poetry, viz:

as

"To
spiritual

noble
Ideals

grounds
are

for

noble
the
that

emotions."
at-

found
about
into
little

in
us,

mosphere
fashioned

are

thence

forms of

thought,

and
ex-

wrought,

by

little,

by

daily

perience into the fabric of our lives.

There
life

is

thus furnished both a zest in


ideal to

and a conscious aim or


;

be

striven after
faith,

in other words, a living

"with
like

perpetual

unbelief

kept

quiet

the

snake 'neath Michael's

44
foot;"
soul
to

browning's PARACELSUS.
not blind belief
that
lulls

the

sleep with shallow self-complafires

cency and sense of safety from the


of
hell.

But, says one in this materialistic age,


this
is all

very well in poetry


if

interesting

and
all

beautiful,
practical.

you

please,

but not

at

It

was the philosophy em-

bodied in the writings of Paracelsus, the

key of which he drew from the teachings of Trithemius that

led

him

to his
as-

great discoveries

and gave him such

cendency over the common men of


age.

his
to
flee

They had indeed

the

power
to

put him

down and compel him


undo
his

for safety, his


secrets,

but they could not discover

work,

or really

tarnish his fame.

Even

the present age

has hardly grown to his estate, because


it

still

gropes in the slough of material-

ism,

and rings the everlasting changes

browning's PARACELSUS.

45

on the transformations of matter, losing


sight of the indwelling spirit, the

mover

and

inspirer of

all.

The sublime philosophy with which


the writings of Paracelsus fully agree,
furnish
proof,

and

continuous though fragmentary


estabhshes
:

three

fundamental

propositions
(a)
less,
all
*

'An Omnipresent, Eternal, BoundPrinciple,

and Immutable
speculation
is

on which
since
it

impossible,

transcends the power of


tion

human concep-

and could only be dwarfed by any


expression or simihtude.
It
is

human

beyond the range and reach of thought."


Something
like this idea m^ay
calls

be drawn

from what Emerson


soul,"

the

"Over-

and from Herbert Spencer's ''Unit

knowable," and

has been vaguely con-

ceived and expressed by

many names
set forth in its

but in no case has

it

been

46
philosophical bearings and held
intelli-

gently and

consistently as

in
it

this
*'

old
Prin-

philosophy.

Plotinus called

the

ciple of Principles," but

he was versed

in the ancient philosophy.


(J?)

The second
of the
;

proposition
in

is,

"the
as

eternity

Universe

toto

boundless plane

periodically, the playinces-

ground of numberless Universes


santly

manifesting
'the

and

disappearing,

called
*

manifesting stars' and the

Sparks of Eternity.'"
{c)

''The third proposition


all

is,

the funda-

mental identity of

Souls with the Uni-

versal Over-soul, the latter being itself an

aspect of the

Unknown Root; and

the a

obligatory pilgrimage of every Soul,

spark of the former, through the cycle


of Incarnation (or necessity), in accord-

ance with Cyclic or Karmic law, during


the

whole term."

Upon

these

three

browning's PARACELSUS.
fundamental
alike
to

47

propositions,

applicable

Cosmogenesis and Anthropo-

genesis, the

whole philosophy proceeds


is,

and man, the Microcosm,


step,

at

every

involved and evolved with Cosmos,

or the

Macrocosm.

"Progress

is

the

law of Life," declares Paracelsus, and in


the magnificent
oration

put

into

his

mouth by Browning

in the closing scene,


all

he clearly portrays the unity of


that climbs to

life

man's

estate,

and the One-

ness of

all

Nature that bodies forth one


plan.
sorts

universal

Paracelsus
of

says:
:

*'

possess
vast,

two

knowledge

one

shadowy
I

hints of the
;

unbounded

aim
of

once pursued
secrets,

the other consists

many

caught while bent on


a few prime printo

nobler prize
ciples

perhaps
offer to

which
last I

may conduct

m.uch.
here.

These

my

fellows

Now

bid

me

chronicle

the

first

of

48
these

browning's PARACELSUS.

my ancient
bid
revert
:

study
to

and
wild

in

effect

you

the

courses
scat-

just abjured

must go find them

tered through the world.


principles,

Then
simple

for the

they are

so

(being

chiefly of the overturning sort (that

one

time

is

as

proper to propound them as


at

any other

to-morrow

my class,
in print.

or half

a century hence
if

embodied

For
they

mankind intend

to learn at
faith to

all,

must begin by giving


acting

them and
are

on them."
to

The
"

principles

thus

shown

be universal and eternal


it,

and, as
truth

Emerson put
is

to

honor every
effi-

by use"

the key to their

ciency in the evolution of the soul.


cisely the

Pre-

same conclusion

is

to

be de-

rived from Browning's idealization and

from the

facts set forth

in the writings

and

life

of Paracelsus.
principles,

The

which are so simple,

BROWNING
are
on.
first

PARACELSUS.

49

to

be apprehended, then acted

Enter the Path.

'"Tis hard
imbued by
first

for

flesh to tread therein,

frailty

hopeless,

if

indulgence

have ripened
Paralife

inborn germs of sin to strength."


celsus

was known

to

have led a

of

celebacy,

for v/hich

many and

diverse

reasons were assigned, the true one not

only has Browning rightly conceived, but

such

is

ever the rule

when man

seeks to

become more than man.

Next, the ideal

of knowledge for the help of man, de-

void of worldly or

selfish

motive,

and

pursued with a zeal and determination


that nothing can

quench or turn aside;

and, finally, renunciation, or the


poverty.
It is

vow
his

of
bi-

said

by one of

ographers that Paracelsus received the


Philosopher's

Stone from an Adept at


152 1,

Constantinople, in
therefore

when he was
years

twenty-eight

of

age.

BROWNING
lays

PARACELSUS.
scene
poet,

Browning
Paracelsus

the the

between
Aprile,
at at

and

the house of a

Greek conjuror
same
year,

Con-

stantinople in the
this

and makes
in

''jewel of
that

wisdom"
Love

to consist

learning

and Wisdom

are

halves of one dissevered world, in whose

union and completeness the lover Knows,

and the knower Loves.

No
kind,

gaunt and pale

asceticism

hud-

dling in caves, or fleeing


is

from human
but

here

discerned;

knowl-

edge and love combined and devoted


wholly to the service
of

man.
it

With
claimed
It is

such aims, and so pursued,

is

that the higher faculties unfold.

thus they " open out a

way
and

for the

im-

prisoned splendor to escape "


that
self

the Truth
is

dwells

within us

wisdom's

when crowned

with Love.

That such conceptions entered into

browning's PARACELSUS.

the philosophy of Paracelsus there can

be no possible doubt; that he carried

them out in practice can not now be demonstrated unless


eries
it

be by the great discov-

he made and the great wisdom he

possessed.

He

anticipated

Harvey

in the

discovery of the circulation of the blood,

Mesmer
netism,
lars,

in a

knowledge of Animal Magin the

Hahnemann

Law

of Simidis-

and made a vast number of other

coveries and innovations.


the use of symbols

He taught by
in allegories

and wrote

whenever he dealt with the profounder


secrets

he had

acquired,

not from

selfish desire to conceal, or a

superficial

habit of mystifying, but,

as

Browning

makes him say

*
:

'

My

worshipers shall
all

owe

to their

own deep

sagacity

further

information,

good or bad."
and the

teacher

instructs the dull

intelligent alike

and

in

the

same way.

The

intelligent

52

browning's PARACELSUS.

profit greatly

by the

instruction, but the

dull are
;

little

benefited thereby.

Browning

is

not merely the interpreter

of Paracelsus, but he uses Paracelsus as

a mask while he interprets himself.


lifts

He
and
suc-

his

hero to his

own grand
failure

ideals

shows alike the way to


cess,

and

and

all

through, so noble, and yet


frailties,

so

human, conscious of
ever

yet
to

turning
''the

from

alluring

snares

imprisoned
star.

splendor"
is

and

the

beckoning

If aspiration

followed

by attainment there succeeds a period of


despondency so natural
soul

"so

to

every lofty
least

worn

that

he,

of

all

men, can measure the extent of what he


has accomplished."

We
ally,

must

not, therefore, take too liter-

and never

as a finality, the despondsin

ency and the confession of

and

fail-

ure put into the mouth of our hero, for

BROWNING

PARACELSUS.

53

herein, through honest introspection, lies


his strength

and the magnet

that
It is

draws
rather

him ever

to his great ideal.

in the periods of boasting

what he has

accomplished, and in scorn for the igno-

rance and stupidity of man, that his hu-

man

frailty

appears.

Step by step, the

poet analyzes every mood, as the deep-

ening tide of

life

sweeps on, and not one

phase

is

lost or is in vain.

Even

scorn,

contempt, and hatred are ministering angels to the aspiring soul,

where the sure recolors

bound
light

reveals in
soul's

warmer

clearer
brink

the

highway.

These dark

gulfs being bridged

and crossed, bring


falter at their

charity for those

who

or stumble headlong dov/n their steep descent.

These, too, will

rise,

purified

by

sore

trial,

and stronger grown and more


sun-lit valleys

glad for the smooth and

and

the

''mountain

heights

where

54

browning's PARACELSUS.
All seeming
evil, rightly

dwells repose."

scanned, but leads to greater good, and


so the Nations climb from age to age,

and man, the Eternal Pilgrim, journeys


on.

"Were man
little

all

mind, he gains a

station

enviable."
is

The

learning gained in any age


cast aside.

soon
old

outgrown and

The same

problems front us now


still

in other garb, yet

the riddle of the sphinx unsolved,


is still

and death
mortal
love
still.

triumphant,
all

man

im-

Were man

heart,

and

his
at

only theme, his heart would


trials

break
stand,

he could never undermisery would seem


;

and

useless
all

the curse of
its

existence

existence at

best a curse, o'ershadowed


last in

by the

fear

of death, and sunk at


livion.

dread ob-

^'LovC; hope,

fear, faith

these

make humanity ;" and wisdom


love

joined to

these

are

**

halves of our dissev-

BROWNINGS PARACELSUS.
ered world"

55
soul.

the

empire of the

Love

is

the

life

of the Soul,

wisdom the
light

light of the

Mind, and love and


immortal destiny.
intelligence,

lead

man

to his

Most people of

now-a-

days, are familiar with the history of the


rise,

the progress, and the results of the

great

Protestant

Reformation,

inauguless
is

rated by
generally

Martin Luther.

Far

known

of

Trithemius,
his illustrious

the pu-

great teacher,
pils,

and of

Paracelsus and Cornelius Agrippa;

of Tauler and John Reuchlin, and of the


society designated
* *

by the strange
little

title,

Friends of God, " or the

book

called

"Theologia Germanica," to which Luther wrote a most


tion.

approving introduc-

This was four hundred years ago.


in the v/estern

Humanity
just

world was then

waking from the sleep of the dark

ages,

and superstition stood with

the

56

browning's PARACELSUS.

multitude in the sacred place of religion,

and

in the gross ignorance

and

crass

ma-

terialism then so prevalent, the ''Theo-

logia

Germanica" found few

readers,

and the ''Friends of God" were believed


to

be the enemies of
the reign of faith,

religion.

Then began
four

and

for

hundred years creed


place

and
of

dogma
and

have usurped the


knowledge.

light

Again the slow-revolving

centuries have brought us to the

dawn

of another century, and in


the

its

twilight

same conditions may be discerned.


earnest, aspiring souls are groping

Many
their

way and welcoming

the

growing

dawn

with thankfulness and hope.

We

have banished many superstitions and


refined

our materialism, and Salvation


has had
It
its

by
its

faith

day and weakened

hold.

remains to be seen whether

we

are to any extent Friends of

God

in

browning's PARACELSUS.
the

57

sense

set

forth

in

the

Theologia

Germanica, or whether Agnosticism on


the

one hand, and materialism on the

other, shall again blot out the light of

knowledge.
This knowledge
is

idealized in

Brownthe

ing's Paracelsus in a

form

fitted to

thought of the new age, intellectual and


philosophical, rather than mystical

and

devotional as in the work attributed to


Tauler.
in dress,

Forms of thought,
change from age
are
eternal.

like fashions

to

age, but

principles

Truth weaves
lan-

many

garbs

and speaks a varied


it

guage, yet at heart


changing.

is

one and un-

There
in

is

a legend in the far east, told

many

ways, of a beautiful face seen


lattice

but for an instant at a

window, or

again on the market-place, and lost ere


the admirer could turn and speak.
It is

58

browning's PARACELSUS.

seen again

when
quest,

despair has well-nigh

ended the

and

so

between weari-

ness and hope the lover journeys on until

he learns

at last that in

order to gain his


Self.
It is

quest he must rehnquish

the
in

parable of the journey of the

soul

quest of the Higher


the soul with
its

Self, or the

union of

god

within, dwelt

upon

by the

mystics,
in

and portrayed by symbol

and allegory
religions.
this earth,
is

many
in

a legend and in of

all

The

perfection

man on
heaven,

and not

some

far-off

the ideal of the soul's evolution.


it

As

Browning puts
"

Man
Nor

is

not

Man
deem

as yet,
his object served, his

shall I

end

Attained, his genuine strength put fairly


forth.

While only here and there

a star dispels

The

darkness, here and there a towering

mind

BROWNING

PARACELSUS.

59
the

O 'erlooks
host
Is out at

its

prostrate fellows;

when

once to the despair of night,

When

all

mankind

alike

is

perfected,

Equal in full-blown powers


then,
I

then, not

till

say, begins

man's general infancy,"


earth,

"

Such men are even now upon the


Serene

amid

the

half-formed

creatures

round."

This

is

no meaningless and mystical


fertile

conception drawn from the poet's

imagination, but the outcome of man's

higher evolution, the details and methods


of which Paracelsus taught

and BrownIn

ing fully outlines in his great poem.

portraying the methods, the aims, ideals,


failures,

and triumphs of

his hero.

Brown-

ing has grasped the scheme of the higher


evolution, which in
shall

some happier time


fruition.

come

to full

His hero,

6o

browning's PARACELSUS.

therefore, stands idealized as the type of

the aspiring soul of

man; hedged about


and ever sinking

by

frailties

and hampered by ignorance,


its

yet true to
self

lofty aim,

in

its
is

sublime ideal.
prophetic

The

closing

sentence
" If I

stoop into a dark tremendous sea oi


cloud.

It is

but for a time;

I press
its

God's lamp

Close to
late.

my

breast;

splendor, soon or

Will pierce the gloom.


day.

I shall

emerge one

You

understand

me

"

**And

this

was Paracelsus."

GENIUS.
There
manifest,
is

certain

energy of

soul

sometimes in thought, someis

times in action, that

called

genius.
it

Though

the

word and the


difficult

qualities

represents

are

to

define,

and

though often misapprehended and misused, genius


is

nevertheless recognized

by a consensus of opinion among men,


the majority of

whom
it

could either give

no

intelligent reason for their opinions,

or would assign for


diverse
estimate
signs

reasons the most

imaginable.
is

That the popular


it

thus vague, and that

as-

genius to those
erratic,

who

are merely

peculiar,

unbalanced or insane,
irrespon-

and who

are thus excused as

(6i)

62
sible,

GENIUS.

by no means proves
solid
is

that there

is

no more
that

and enduring

basis

for

which

so Httle understood.
place, real genius
is

In the

first

sponposit,

taneous and not studied, and


sessor
is

its

likely to

be the

last to
is

claim

or recognize the fact that he

different
it.

from

his fellows in possessing

The

noisy cackle which heralds certain productions,


in

and seeks
is

to forestall

judgment

others,

both commonplace
less

and

vulgar,

and the

noisy air of conceit

and self-complacency, often engendered

by mediocre achievements
thought or the
field

in the field of

of action, equally

stamps the individual as both shallow and


void of judgment, and to attribute genius, or

even a high degree of

talent, to

such an individual would be the hight of


folly.

Genius does spontaneously and

GENIUS.

63

almost unconsciously that which others

can do indifferently or not

at all.

Genius
self,"
tive.

is is

thus " ever a secret

to

it-

and
It

creative rather than imita-

may be
rules
it

ignorant of

all

rules of

composition, and yet conform to them so


that

new

may

result in trying to
just

explain

how

was done;
describe

as

the

anatomist

may

the

muscles

brought into action in boxing or fencing,

and yet be without


sword.
talent,

skill

with

fist

or

There
while

is

thus no genius without

talent

alone

is

neither
is

creative

nor spontaneous.

There

sublime self-confidence in
that
is
is

men

of genius

far

removed from

self-conceit,

and

born of clear vision and identification

of the Thinker or actor with his work.

He
his

is at

home

with

it

and

feels sure

of

ground,

and may thus seem dogis

matic.

But there

a wide margin be-

64

GENIUS.
that

tween such dogmatism and

which

springs from ignorance or shallow conceit,

and

this

it

is

which gives

it

recog-

nition

and

authority,

permanency and

enduring fame.
barren
realities,

Genius deals with no


but
with
living
it

propositions,

and

identifies itself with all

touches.

The realm

of genius,

there-

fore, is the real

world of essential forms,

and and

intuition seizes the ideals of nature

of

life

and

translates

them

into

forms of thought or methods of action.

Genius
nature,

is

therefore

the

interpreter

of

standing

above

the

plane

of

reason, yet
it.

by no means divorced from


for the

Master
will,
it

time of both reason

and
in

brings to light things hidden

gross darkness from ordinary minds,


translates
life

and

them

into form
It

and sub-

stance,

and power.
it

outwardly

creates that which

inwardly perceives.

GENIUS.

65
not a collection

The mind

of

man

is

of self-acting powers and passions, not a

mere bundle of

attributes,

but essentially

a unit capable of great variety of forms


of action,

and

essentially one.
*'

The very word Man means


and the
real

to think,"

man

is

the Thinker.

The

various faculties of the mind, like reason,


will

or

imagination,

are

the

forms of

action, the

modes of energy, manifested


Without
this

by

the unit, man.

concep-

tion of

man

as a unit, rather than a

mere

aggregate,

self-consciousness

is

a misIt

nomer and would be inconceivable.


is

just at this point

that

all
it

theories of
is

heredity break down, and


this point that the

also

at

foundation and nature

of genius
mitted.

is

neither inherited nor transto this

The apparent exception


real.

statement in the case of genius in music


is

apparent only and not

The

real

66

GENIUS.

musician would be impossible unless the


bodily organs responded to the intuitive

genius within.

But

it is

the vehicle,

and

not the driver, the instrument and not


the player, that must

depend on
soil

heredity.

Heredity furnishes the

and condi-

tions of growth, not the immortal seed

of genius, here or elsewhere.

Genius
not

is

the heritage of the real man,


progenitors, but from the
all

from human

divine source of

being.

The organs

of action in man, the faculties and passions, furnish the theater of action of the

Thinker, define
its limits,

its

dimensions, prescribe
its

circumscribe

powers, repretendencies,
its

sent

its

environment,
predilections.

its

bias, its

All

these stand

definitely related to the real


tools with

man, as the

which he works, and the con-

ditions

under which he must use them,

and

as

no one of them, nor

all

together,

GENIUS.

67
his condi-

can constitute man, but only


tion of action, so
is

genius not thus deis

termined.

Genius

like

a concealed

fountain, that bursts forth spontaneously


in a

mighty rushing stream, seizing and


its

shaping

channels as

it

goes
in the real self
attributes,

Having located genius


in

man,

what are
?

its

and

whence derived

Comparing men of ordinary powers


with

men

of genius, and comparing that


viz.,

which most nearly resembles genius,


talent,

with genius

itself,

we may be
consists.

able

to discover

wherein genius

We

have already found that genius


self-conscious

is

spontaneous,
creative,

of

power,

and " ever a

secret to itself,"
is

while the ordinary individual


in just these
sesses,

deficient

attributes, or

at

best posin

perhaps,

some one of them

slight degree.

6S Talent
is

GENIUS.
a thing of growth,
It is

and

is

evolved by application.
of cultivation;
rience
;

the result

or,

in

one word, Expe-

and there must be an inborn


all

capacity as the measure and limit of


experience, resulting in talent.

In other

words, talent represents that which

we
ac-

have learned, and

is

the

result of

cumulated experience.

The most
is

strik-

ing characteristic of genius


that

that

it

does

which apparently

it

has never learned


learn-

to do, or

had the opportunity of

ing, unless

we admit

the platonic theory

of pre-existence.

Even inborn tendenfail

cies or innate capacity,

to

explain

the creative genius of a child


if

Mozart,

we have

rightly located genius as the


itself,

central
also
is

power of the ego

unless

we

admit that the ego,

the real

self,

created at conception, and this again

GENIUS.

69

would annul
for the ego.

all

theories of immortality

If talent represents that

which we have

learned,

and

is

the result of accumulated


if all

experience, and
talent,
if,

men
is

of genius have

while the reverse

not true

and

further, talent belongs to the faculties

cultivated,

while genius

is

the potency

and power of the ego

itself.

Genius

is

related to the Thinker, as precipitated ex-

perience.

It is

what Plato called a Remisoul,

niscence of the

and therefore a
outer planes of
is

" secret

to itself"
for

on

all

consciousness,

reminiscence

the

memory

of

pre-existence.

This spark

of genius, that illumines space and time


with the mellow light of the
past,
is

forgotten

nowhere more

delicately

and

beautifully expressed than


sell

by James Rus-

Lowell, in his poem, called

70

GENIUS.

IN

THE TWILIGHT.
floats

Sometimes a breath

hy me,
sent,

An

odor from Dreamland

That makes the ghost seem nigh me

Of a splendor that came and went, Of a life lived somewhere, I know not
In what diviner sphere,

Of memories
That can not

that stay not and go not,

Like music heard once hy an ear


forget or reclaim
it
it,

A
To
a

something so shy,

would shame

it

make

it

a show,
I

A
As
if I
if I

something too vague, could


to

name

it,

For others

know,
it

had lived

or dreamed

it,

As

had acted or schemed

it,

Long ago

THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES.


Order and Harmony are the
alike of Earth
first

laws

and Heaven

for as earth

and heaven are rather contrasted condithan different localities, so order is


tions

probut the sequence of harmony, the

cession of events,

and the embodiment

to of ideas in visible things according

natural relations.

Ail fret

and

friction,

all

the sorrows

and

pain of earthly existence, can

be

traced directly to disharmony.

Harmony
health
all

and order

in the

life

of

man mean

and happiness.
stress
soul,

In thus removing

and

friction
is

from the body and

man

placed on the lines of least

resistance,

and the journey of the soul


(71)

72

THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES.

through the abodes of matter becomes a

march of conquest

inspiring

the

soul
is

with a pean of victory.


a science of music beyond emotions, and just as
all

Just as there
all

pleasurable

harmony may

be reduced to orderly sequence in the


combination of chords according to exact
mathematical ratios of vibration, so also
in

every department of the

life

of man,

law and order, based on the same unvarying


health,

mathematical

law,

determine

harmony, and happiness.

Music, as a mere pastime,


soothing, comforting, and

may be
but
unito
inits

inspiring,

only

when

it

is

made

to

reveal
it

versal laws of
its

harmony does
and

mount

true place as the

educator and

spirer of the soul,

as the revealer of
It is

the

Music of the Spheres.


office

not the

highest
passions

of music to portray the

of

man.

The grandest and

THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES.


most complicated symphony, with
all

73
its

contrasted yet related parts, leads

the

mind by simpler melodies


and and where the wings of the

to

the finale
breathless,

at last to silence that is

soul,

nerved

by the confluence of harmonious sound,


forget
to

beat

the

air,

ecstatic
isles

vision

touches the shores of the

of the blest

and the inner being opens


silence, the

to the singing

Music of the Spheres.

Every

great composer, every true musician, has

sensed

this

inner vision; every lover of


its spell.

music has been under

Can such

a thing exist as a vagary of


?

the emotions without an underlying law

without a corresponding universal principle ?


I
is

hold that the highest


not to exercise the

office of

music

emotions,
to the

but to lead the soul of

man

ap-

prehension of

this universal
is

law of har-

mony.

Its office

not to amuse, or to

74

THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES.


and
into

exercise the emotions, but to elevate

purify them.

Music thus entered


all

the ceremonies of
initiations.
is

ancient genuine
science of music

The whole

based on mathematics, and just as the

harmonious exercise and elevation of the


emotions was secured by music, so the
instruction

and elevation of the mind

was

derived from mathematics.

Thus

the training of the neophite in the mysteries did not

end

in ecstatic vision, but

in

knowledge of the universal laws of

harmony.
individual's

The harmony secured


life

in the

enabled him to grasp the

laws of universal being, and opened to

him the music of the


Music
is

spheres.

not an arbitrary invention or

an accidental discovery of man.


intervals in

The

music

exist in the

very nature

of things, and the true musician senses


these as he senses light and color by con-

THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES.

75

sonant vibrations in the corresponding

organ in his

own

nature.

FaiHng

in this,

he can only repeat mechanically certain


tones, whether with instrument or voice,

and

his

music

is

soulless.

His execution
it

may

be technically exact, but

never

touches the heart.


the great revealer. the
Isis

Music thus becomes


It

opens the door

to

celestial

harmony.

The Egyptian
all

was called "the Mother of


''AH that hath been,
all
all

Livis,

ing."

that

and

that shall be,"


lift

and perfect
veil.

har-

mony

only could

the

Modern

science has re-discovered enough of the

v/isdom of Pythagoras and the old


ates to discern that
all light, all

Initi-

color, all

sound, and every form in nature depend

upon and
brations.

are determined

by

different vi-

The form

of every living be-

ing, the crystallizing of every

snowflake

as of every physical substance, the vein-

76
ing

THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES.


of

every

leaf,

the

penciling

and

fragrance of every flower, no less than


the forms of thought and the subtle play

of

human
upon

emotions, are thus


vibration,

all

depend-

ent

conform

to the lav/s

of harm.ony,

and belong

to the

Music of

the Spheres.
ter in the

Nay, every atom of matis

Universe

set to music,

and

whether dancing in

light or coalescing in
is

the deep dark bowels of the earth,


of the universal diapason of nature.

part

For

the

universe

is

not dead, but literally


life,

breathing and pulsating with


the law of that
life
is

and

harmony.
star,

Every
through

atom, as every sun and

ceaseless motion, under the law of eter-

nal harmony,

is

striving for equilibrium.


is

Man

suffers

only because he

out of

harmony with

himself, with Nature,

and

with the Eternal source of Being.


pain
is

Every

the cry of an organ out of tune

THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES.


every sin and every crime
is

77
at-

but the

tempt of a

soloist to ignore the score of

the orchestra to which he belongs

and
It

to
is

which he

is

indissolubly bound.

these discords that

drown out the Music

of the Spheres, and

we

are so intent

upon
in

our our

own

discords,

and so bound up
that

own performance,
symphony
to

we

are deaf

to the

of Hfe set before us,

and when called

account console our-

selves with the reflection that

we

are no

worse out of time than the other


bers of the great orchestra

mem-

Nature

is full

of music, as

it

exists only

through the laws of


only
is

harmony.

Man

discordant and out of tune.

How many
of sound?

have visited Niagara and

heard only the roar of waters and the crash

Eugene Thayer,

the

well-

known
sis

organist, has published

an analy-

of the music of Niagara Falls.

He

78
says:

THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES.

"I heard nothing


in

but a perfectly

constructed musical tone, clear, definite,

and unapproachable
fection.

its

majestic perall

complete series of tones,

uniting in one grand and noble unison,


as
in

an organ.

...
Let

arrived at

my

conclusion," he says, ''both theoret-

ically

and

practically.

me

first call

attention to the third

and fourth
note, G,

notes,

and G.

The ground
or take

was so

deep, so grand, so mighty, that I never

could realize
or hearing;
four

it

it

into

my thought
every-where
well

but these two tones, only


lower,

octaves

were

with a power that


as heard.

made
will

itself felt as

But

it

be rephed, these
to

two notes were too low

be detected

by the sense of hearing.


determine the pitch
?

How
that

did

I first

caught the

harmonic notes above them


definite in pitch,

were

and then, counting the

THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES.

79

number
notes,

of vibrations of these lower two


easily

determined

the

distance
feat-

below.
ure,

And

here comes a curious

which proves that Niagara gives a

tone and not a roar.

The seventh

note,

the interval of the tenth, was of a

power

and clearness
to the

entirely out of proportion


in

harmonics as usually heard

an

organ.

Were
weak

the

tone

of

Niagara a

mere
either

noise, this seventh note

would be

or confused or absent alto-

gether.

"What
is

is

Niagara's rhythm?

Its

beat

just

once per second.

Here," he con-

cludes, *'is our unit of time

the

chro-

nometer of God."
But
it

is

not alone the

movement

of

matter over matter that results in sound,


or the friction of

moving bodies with the

elements of our atmosphere that

may

become

audible.

The

basic function of

8o

THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES.


is

the Ether

sound, and long before the


light

appearance of heat and


mensity of space
vibrations.
is

the

im-

filled

with resonant

Both the resistance of the

ether
stars

and the revolutions of suns and


are
ear

constant
is

and

uniform.
it

The
is

human
to

a time organ, and

be-

cause there are no interruptions, nothing

break the sound of revolving planets,

that

we do not hear

the sound they cause


If the

in boundless space.

mutual

at-

traction of planets
relative
size

is

determined by their

and

density,

and they are

held to their orbits by mutual attraction

and repulsion, so

also the ratio of

moveall

ment of each

to

each and of each to

must coincide.

But what
different

is

this

but the
of

movement of
symphony of

instruments

varying tone as in an orchestra?


creation must be a fact

The
and

not a fancy, and the singing of the morn-

THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES.


ing Stars a veritable reality.
subjective
side
to

8
is

There

the physical senses,

and

this

only becomes active


is

when

the
this

outer function

suspended.

On

inner plane the senses merge in one;

we
the

hear the hght and see the sound, and


sense or feel the harmony.

This

is

reason

why

the greatest seers have been

unable to describe their experiences in


ecstatic
vision.

All

language

fails,

as

outer qualities disappear and the inner

essence of beauty and harmony are revealed.

When

every fiber of man's beuniversal

ing throbs in

harmony with the

soul of nature, the universal

rhythm no

longer broken into wrangling discords by


the perverted will and disjointed

memat-one

bers of man, then will

man be

with

all

and join

in the great

symphony.

Nothing so determines and defines the


progress of

man

as his

power

to

sense

82

THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES.

and apprehend these revelations of nature,

and

his insight into that orderly se-

quence which determines the rhythm of


motion and the harmony of law.
*'

The

other world"

is

far

nearer than
it

we
is

think.

The journey by which

reached does not extend through space,


or over mountain

and ocean, nor need

we

wait to pass through the gateway of

death to enter the celestial realm.

We

have only to open our souls

to the divine

harmony and

silence

all

discords within,

in order to hear

and

to

understand the

Music of the Spheres.

IDOLS
Man
Pilgrim.

AND

IDEALS.
the

has

been

called

Eternal

Immersed
in

in matter,

and

in-

volved

sense

and time, man faces


Sphinx and
tries

the riddle of the

to

solve the problem of existence;

to dis-

cover the Great Secret.

The
akin

center of man's being

is

a Spark
is

of Divinity.
to

The

spirit in

man

thus
the
Dithe

the

Supreme

Spirit

and

source of his conscious existence.


vinity
basis
is

thus
fact

involved in

man
of

as

and

of his consciousness, as
fountain
life.

the
is

exhaustless
the

It

destiny

of

man

to

attain

per-

fection.

He
gain

descends

into

matter in
evolves

order to

experience, and

(83)

84

IDOLS

AND

IDEALS.

outwardly in form the latent potencies

which he involves from the fountain of


all

being.

In the very dawn of


the

human

existence

center

of consciousness begins to
the
first

expand

v/ith

experience,

and

the ebb and flow of ing


of

life,

the inbreath-

of

Divinity and

the

outbreathing

Nature (involution

and evolution)
in

constitute

self-consciousness
is

man.

This process

typified not only in all


life,

lower forms of
ganic
cell

but in every

or-

where the

tides of life

ebb and

flow from circumference to nucleus,

and

from nucleus

to circumference.

Action
al-

and reaction are thus opposite and


ternate

with

continual

adjustment,

an

instant of equilibrium,

and then renewal

of the conflict

the

onward sweep of the

restless tides of life.

This instant of equilibrium

is

rather

IDOLS
ideal

AND

IDEALS.

85

than actual; a nascent point, de-

void of extension or duration.


otherwise, did equilibrium obtain

Were
and

it

all

antagonism cease, death on the physical


plane would result
;

just as

by cessation

of breath, the inhalation and exhalation


of
air,

the heart ceases to beat and


life

all

the wheels of
It
is

run down.
the conscious ego in
his

thus

that

man, the very center of


two worlds, the
ical,

being focalizes

spiritual

and the phys-

and

the

circle

of consciousness

continually expands by experience

drawn
this

from both worlds.

The poet sensed


:

by
"

intuition

when he wrote
life

Between two worlds

hovers like a star

'Twixt night and morn upon the horizon's


verge."

Here
key
to
its

is

the process of
is

life,

and the

interpretation
is

analogy.

What
we

consciousness

in its last analysis,

86

IDOLS

AND

IDEALS.
as as

know and can know


grasp Nature
finitely small

little

we can
The
in-

in

its

entirety.

and the

infinitely great, the

mathematical point and boundless space,


alike elude us.

They

alike represent the

principle of antithesis in the form of the

thinking faculty in man.


Spirit

and Matter, God and Nature,


exist in

Space and Time,

man
to

as Ideas,

and whenever he seeks


these he creates an Idol.

externalize

Thought

is

an externalizing process.
is

Consciousness

passive

condition
its

thought being
ing states.
that
I

its

active form,

chang:

Hence
is

the old saying

"All

am

the result of what I have


interpret
all

thought."
in

We

experience

terms of thought, and thus self-concontinually

sciousness

expands.

We
Arrest

thus derive our ideas of things.

thought, stop

all

progress in the changing

IDOLS

AND

IDEALS.

87

panorama of
periences
idols,

events, repeat the


after

same

ex-

day

day and we build

and

cling to our

own

creations as

though they were living and everlasting


verities.

In the progress of evolution, in the

long

journey of the Eternal

Pilgrim,

man's conscious experience must compass,

not exhaust,

the whole range of

possible experience.

Man

must know

in

kind

all

that can

be known by
Plato says
:

intelligent inquiry.

knowledge of

He who has not even a common things is a brute


'
'

among men; he who

has an accurate
is

knowledge of common things alone

man among
all

brutes

but he

who knows

that
is

can be known by intelligent


a

energy

god among men."

This continual expansion of the range


of conscious experience, presenting the

88
world
thought,
to

IDOLS

AND

IDEALS.
in

consciousness
slowly
into

terms

of

converts
the

the

personal
trans-

and limited

universal;

forms our hmited ideas into universal


Ideals.

That

which
is

makes

evolution

possible in

man

his self-consciousness

through which he epitomizes in potency


Eternal Nature and the Supreme Spirit.

He
step

will realize the

potency

in actuality

by step

as experience expands.
is

All experience, therefore,

to

be

reis

garded as means to an end.


ever seeking
final
finalities,
is

Man

and imagines
be found
never

that

happiness

to

in those
final,

experiences which are


fortuitous
;

but

can never be results but only

processes.
lasting

And

so

we

ring

the

everantici-

changes

in sensation

and

pation, exhaust experience in sense

and

time

till

vitality

wanes, zest dies, and the

equilibrium of desire and disappointment

IDOLS
Stops

AND

IDEALS.

89

the
is

wheels of

life

and physical

death

the result.

The very

goal at which
is

we aim and
preserve
the
zest

blindly sense

the cause of our defeat.

To

maintain action and

while holding in the mind


equilibrium,

ideal

while

striving
is

consciously

for self-mastery, this

the great secret.

To

accomplish

this

we must dethrone

our idols and cast out desire.

Man may
and Reason
eludes

then establish between Faith


that equilibrium

which ever

him between
or

desire

and

disap-

pointment,
disgust.

between

sensation

and

Just in proportion as he de-

ideals thrones his idols will the universal or ignores faith When take their place.

dethrones reason superstition


sult.

is

the re-

Whenever reason denies

faith the

wings of the soul are clipped,


grovels in the slough of matter,

and man

becomes

90
a

IDOLS

AND

IDEALS.
the
brutish
it

worm

of dust.

Endow

soul

with self-consciousness

and

be-

comes human.

Let the personal

self in

man

refuse to advance toward the uni-

versal

and

it

stagnates, turns back,

and

descends to
for
it

the

plane of

the

brute

ceases to involve the divine po-

tency,
sire,

becomes

lost in sensation
is

and

de-

and evolution

arrested.
is

Universal Nature
of Divine

the

embodiment
Nature pro-

Consciousness.
it

gressively evolves only as

involves the

thought of the All-Intelligence.

Behind

Nature and beneath


cesses
is

all

evolutionary prothe plan

the

Divine Ideal;

toward which

all

Nature builds.

This

is

Plato's world of Divine Ideas.

These are
Cir-

perfect forms, or universal Ideals.

cumscribed
limited

by the

personal

equation,
the
ex-

by

self-consciousness,

perience of

man

gathers thence his ideas,

IDOLS
distorted
perfect

AND

IDEALS.
caricatures
to

9 of
as

images,

mere

forms.

He

clings

these

though they were

final verities,

converts

them
of his

into idols,

and worships the creation


This
is

own

hands.

the great

illu-

sion; the

Maya

of existence.

In order to evolve with nature

man
must

must relinquish and


first

let go.

Man
it
;

serve in order to
his
life

command; must
must
in

lose

in order to save

continually
universal.

merge the personal

the
is

The

sin

of

separateness

the darkness of ignorance.


to grasp
all.

In seeking

and

to hold,

man
is

eventually loses

Self-consciousness
lost, in

circumscribed,

bewildered, and
of
self.

the consciousness

True Religion ever presents the


of
self-sacrifice,

ideal

while superstition builds

idols of flesh or of stone.


It is

thus that the sublimity of Faith

92

IDOLS

AND

IDEALS.

degenerates into time-serving intellectual


belief,

and man builds

idols after the pat-

tern of his

own

infirmities.

Then

rea-

son again assumes the throne, breaks the


idols
in

pieces,

and

restores

to

the

world a purer

faith.
is

All evolution

thus

stayed by the

apotheosis of selfishness, and

man remains

involved in the pleasures of sense and


lost in the illusions of matter.

Perfection
Pilgrim,

is

the goal of the Eternal

and

all

progress

implies con;

tinual adjustment of ideas to Ideals

of

the personal and evanescent to the universal

and

eternal.

The

voice alike of

Nature and Divinity


ears
:

cries forever in
!

our
Pass

Let go

Let go

Pass on

on!

The

question of immortality for every


is

individual

a problem in consciousness.
is

Conscious identity

always present as

IDOLS
the primal

AND

IDEALS.

93

endowment

of the

Ego, and

the continuity of experience holds from

day

to

day with the intervening dreams

of night, or with dreamless sleep.

Here

memory

is

the connecting link.

The

in-

complete experiences of the more recent


past lap over
to-day,

and blend with those of

and

so

we have
and time.

continuity of

thought

in sense

People often object to Reincarnation, because they can not remember the experiences of a past
life,

when

in

fact

they can not retain a tithe of the experiences of the present


life.

Now, take
in

all

the elements

and

faculties

man

with which

we

are familiar,

and

imagine

man

in the life after this in the

subjective world to be deprived of the


recollection of the events of this present
life.

He
as

would there face the same


now.

problem

94
If

IDOLS

AND

IDEALS.

he

still

possessed a thinking faculty


that the
life

and ascertained
jective world

in the sub-

came

at last to

an end, the
still

continuity of existence
solved.
If

would be

un-

memory

fails

to retain the experilife

ences of the present

during

its

con-

tinuance, and as with the aged, imbecile,


or insane,

apparent

may fail altogether, it must be that memory of past experience


depended upon

or past lives can not be

for a demonstration of continued exist-

ence, independent of

all

change of en-

vironment.

The proof of continued

existence

lies,

therefore, in the conscious identity of

the Ego, viz., in self-consciousness.

As

the theater of self-consciousness continually

expends, as the individual involves

by experience more and more of the


Divine Life, and broadens and evolves

IDOLS

AND

IDEALS.

95

more toward

the ideal or perfect form,

so the consciousness of immortality also

deepens as the kinship of


ordinates
all

all

life

co-

and confirms the continuity of


experience.

individual

In seeking

empirical

testimony from without of a

thing which can by no possibility be so

proven,

we overlook

or ignore

the

in-

ternal evidence,

and darken or obscure

the light of immortality within our


souls.

own

The
istence
It is

feeling or intuition of endless exis

the natural heritage of man.

the

endowment

of that

*'

spark of

Divinity" which has given him self-consciousness

Man may
it

imagine that he
as

has "reasoned

away"

he becomes

involved in the senses and outer cycle of


physical
faith,
life.

Reason may thus

strangle

and the individual become

be-

g6

IDOLS

AND

IDEALS.
his

wildered and
vices.

lost

through

own

de-

The

belief in immortahty,

even that of

very ignorant people, which certain agnostics

and students of science assume


is

to despise,

thus far wiser and better


all

warranted from

scientific

and

philo-

sophical considerations than any negation

can possibly be.

There

is

a science of

life

which solves

the riddle of the Sphinx, and, grasping the


secret of death, reveals the mystery of

Being.

As a mere
of
little

speculation, this science


It is

is

worth.

not speculative, but

applied science, that can

become a

guid-

ing light in the Journey of the Eternal


Pilgrim.

As a

prerequisite,

one must

have an open mind; must be divested


of
all

prejudice, in order to examine dis-

passionately,

weigh accurately, and

dis-

IDOLS
criminate
wisely.

AND

IDEALS.

97

Faith

and

Reason

must be
as a light

in perpetual equilibrium

Faith
comguided

on the path

Reason

as a
is

pass

by which the Pilgrim


star of destiny.

toward the
All

idols

must

be

dethroned,

and

Truth discerned as an Immortal Ideal.


Perfection must be recognized as the
goal of evolution
tion in
sins,
;

not a negative perfecoff follies

goodness by cutting

and

but perfection in knowledge, good-

ness, understanding,

and power

The

Pilgrim must determine his true

relations to his

fellow-men,

and adjust

those relations, step by step, as experi-

ence expands.

He

must

not, like chil-

dren wearied with play and tired of the


toys that served to amuse, be discour-

aged

at

the outlook

and sink down


in,

in

despair.

Here Faith comes

with a

sure promise of final triumph,

and gives

98

IDOLS

AND

IDEALS.

confidence to endeavor and zest in

life.

Nothing so clogs the wheels of progress


for the aspiring soul

as selfishness.

No

Ideal

is

so helpful

and inspiring

as that

of the Universal Brotherhood of Man,

and the kinship of

all Hfe.

The onward
all

sweep of evolution
ity

bears

human-

and

all

life

toward the same goal.

The
of

selfishness of

one retards the progress


rise

all.

No

one can

alone.
is

The
ever

advance guard of the human race

composed of those who sink


good of others
;

self for the

of those

who
to

" Step out of sunlight into shade,

make

more room

for others."

These but illumine the darkness with a


light that
is

Divine, and again step aside

that others

may

enjoy the

light.
is

The
ever

true light that shineth in darkness

a light from within.

IDOLS

AND

IDEALS.

99
is

The
ence.

basis of all

knowledge
all

experi-

Have we

not

had experience
side, of passion

enough on the animal and


lust,

selfishness

and greed?

Must
on the
in

we

ring the everlasting changes


scale,
till

downward

faith is
is

quenched

darkness and reason

dethroned?

It is

indeed more experiences that we need,


but on the upward trend, toward the

mountains of

light,

where the benedicwhere Faith points where Reason

tions of peace abide;


to the star of

destiny;

leads to understanding; and where the

Diapason of Nature

is

in

harmony comGod.

plete with the song of the Sons of

Man
Ideals,

may,

if

he

will,

ever build toward

and

if

these recede and


it

seem

to

elude him at every step,

is

only that
at

they
rift

may

put on a

new beauty

every

in the cloud.

ideals of

He passes to-day the yesterday. He has become that

lOO

IDOLS

AND

IDEALS.

which lured him.


ideas
ity

It is thus that

man's

expand
is

into ideals,

and the Divinall life


is

which

the source of

evolves

into that

Nature which

its

complete

embodiment.
This
is

the At-one-ment of the Sons of


if it
is

God, and
for us

and must long remain


its

common
life

mortals an ''ideal,"

apprehension as such may, nevertheless,

be to the
is

of

man what

the sunlight

to earthly existence, or

what the poleon

star

and the compass are


seas.

to the sailor

darkened

We
in

are often like disseas,


;

mantled ships
mast,
sails,

stormy

without
drifting

rudder or compass

at best in pleasant weather,

and driven
pas-

hither

and

thither

by every wind of

sion that blows.

To know

the

meaning of

life,

the

method and goal of

evolution, the fact

IDOLS

AND

IDEALS.

lOI

of immortality, while holding the perfection of

man
it

ever in mind as the lofty


is

Ideal, this

more than
life

all

else

that
to all

can give zest in

and motive

human endeavor.

^'^\\\\\\v\w;rw

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